Management of allergic rhinitis in the community pharmacy: identifying the reasons behind medication self-selection

Rachel Tan, Biljana Cvetkovski, Vicky Kritikos, David Price, Kwok Yan, Peter Smith, Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Community pharmacists have a key role to play in the management of allergic rhinitis (AR). Their role is especially important because the majority of medications used to treat AR are available for purchase over-the-counter (OTC), allowing patients to self-select their own medications and bypass the pharmacists. Patients’ self-selection often results in suboptimal treatment selection, undertreated AR and poor clinical outcomes. In order for pharmacists to optimise the care for AR patients in the pharmacy, pharmacists need to be able to identify patient cohorts who self-select and are at high risk of mismanagement. Objectives: This study aimed to compare the demographics, clinical characteristics and medication selected, between pharmacy customers who choose to self-select and those who speak with a pharmacist when purchasing medication for their AR in a community pharmacy and identify factors associated with AR patients’ medication(s) self-selection behaviour. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in a convenience sample of community pharmacies from the Sydney metropolitan area. Demographics, pattern of AR symptoms, their impact on quality of life (QOL) and medication(s) selected, were collected. Logistic regressions were used to identify factors associated with participants’ medication self-selection behaviour. Results: Of the 296 recruited participants, 202 were identified with AR; 67.8% were female, 54.5% were >40 years of age, 64.9% had a doctor’s diagnosis of AR, and 69.3% self-selected medication(s). Participants with AR who self-select were 4 times more likely to experience moderate-severe wheeze (OR 4.047, 95% CI 1.155-14.188) and almost 0.4 times less likely to experience an impact of AR symptoms on their QOL (OR 0.369, 95% CI 0.188-0.727). Conclusions: The factors associated with AR patients’ self-selecting medication(s) are the presence of wheeze and the absence of impact on their QOL due to AR symptoms. By identifying this cohort of patients, our study highlights an opportunity for pharmacists to engage these patients and encourage discussion about their AR and asthma management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1332
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacy Practice
Issue number3
Early online date26 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not for profit sectors.


  • rhinitis
  • allergic
  • seasonal
  • self-medication
  • quality-of-life
  • community pharmacy sevices
  • professional role
  • pharmacies
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • multivariate analysis
  • Australia


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